Our Team

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Jennifer Persson, Founder - Jennifer has been an Ocean lover her entire life and is thrilled to be leading the charge for Ocean Grants.  Formerly a Silicon Valley licensing lawyer and entrepreneur, she brings 25 years of research, writing and fund raising experience to Ocean Grants.  Her charitable involvements include National Charity League, StandUp for Kids, OneSource Empowering Caregivers and Reef.org.  Jennifer's undergraduate degree is from Stanford University and her law degree is from Santa Clara University.  Some of her favorite Ocean  adventures include diving with Hammerhead Sharks on the Great Barrier Reef, petting Gray Whales in San Ignacio Lagoon, and snorkeling with Sea Lions in the Galapagos.  In her free time, Jennifer enjoys scuba diving, beach combing, paddle boarding, yoga and prehistoric shark toothing.  She is passionate about supporting and accelerating the progress of the hard working people attempting to solve various Ocean challenges.  

 
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Mike Davis, VP Operations - Mike's experience includes marketing, product management, business development, partner relations and engineering with Moblyng Games, Rocket Mobile, AOL and Netscape.  Most recently, he's led the development of mobile apps including games, streaming video social media, mapping, news and commerce.  Mike's long been a fan of the Ocean beginning with weekly trips to Santa Cruz as a child and followed by decades of recreational surfing.  Mike and his wife are active volunteers with 4-H, Girl Scouts and other local youth organizations.  Mike holds a MBA from Santa Clara University and a BS Engineering degree from San Jose State.   

 
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Cassie Benson, VP Communications - Falling in love with the ocean came early for Cassie and has never waned. She has spent the past 24 years carrying around her dive card exploring the deep blue and the shallow greens. Her travels have allowed her to swim with sharks, hover over teeny nudibranch and explore the hollow bellies of sunken ships. She has seen the rapid decline in fish populations and reef health. Currently, she volunteers her time to the Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific and Project Aware. Cassie joined the Ocean Grants team to help them share the message of ocean conservation, visually. She holds a B.S. in Graphic Design from Full Sail University.

 
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Simone Nix, Social Media & Events Manager - Simone is an undergraduate at the University of Miami, majoring in Marine Biology and Communication Studies. She has a deep passion for the ocean, and all of its inhabitants. As an advanced rescue diver, with eight PADI scuba licenses and certifications, she spends a lot of time in the water. Over the summer, Simone worked on an extensive three-week beach cleanup and turtle protection project in Costa Rica. She is the social media manager for the show “Pulse” on University of Miami Television, and creates visual, digital ad campaigns for the fashion company, SMHR+. She volunteers at several nonprofits, including Neighbor’s Link, UNICEF, and the Miami Marine Mammal Rescue Team.